Residents fled their homes as heavy rain and flooding continued on Tuesday in Jayapura, Papua, inundating more villages across the regency.
At least 89 people are reported to have died with 84 suffering serious injuries on the third day of the torrential rain that has hit the country’s easternmost province.
More than 6,800 people are taking refuge at 15 shelters in Jayapura and they urgently need basic provisions such as food, bedding, clean water, clean clothes and electricity.
“The flash flooding has affected over 11,000 people,” said Jayapura Deputy Regent Giri Wijiyantoro, adding that survivors were taking shelter in schools, churches and facilities belonging to the Indonesian Military (TNI).
The torrential rain has discouraged people from returning to their homes.
In Gunung Merah, Sentani district, where the regency administration’s emergency post is located, the evacuees are being accommodated in the regent’s office. Most of them being mothers and children. The scene is being repeated in other shelters.
Although aid has continued to arrive from private sources and the government, evacuees are still in urgent need of food, drink and clothing.
“We also need milk for children under five years of age at the shelters,” volunteer Gustaf Griapon of the Gunung Merah shelter said, adding that other shelters were in similar need.
Some children lost their parents in the flash floods. They needed special services such as counseling and help in searching for relatives and family members, Gustaf said.
Some mothers expressed concern about the condition of their children as they began to fall ill.
“My child has had a fever since Sunday morning but I cannot yet take him to the health post or hospital because the road is damaged,” said Ance Wanimbo who was sheltering in Imanuel Church in Kampung Toladan.
Debris blocked the road connecting the church and the main post in the downtown area. In this church women and children took shelter inside the church while men stayed in makeshift tents erected outside the church.
The provincial branch of the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI Papua) is still collecting data on the need for clean water and other emergency aid such as clothes, diapers, sanitary napkins, baby milk, blankets and mattresses at the main post and hospitals.
“We have distributed some. We are expecting people to help us to report on other evacuation centers we have not yet recorded,” PMI Papua head Derek Windesi said.
The provincial emergency post has also recorded at least 351 severely damaged houses, mostly on hillsides or river banks, and 211 inundated houses around Sentani city and Doyo Baru.
Marcel Kia, a resident of the BTN Gajah Mada housing complex in Doyo Baru, said that floods had hit his area several times in the last five years but no action had been taken.
The number of evacuees and damaged or inundated houses could still rise. On Monday Lake Sentani overflowed inundating houses from Jayapura regency to Jayapura city. Some houses in Ayapo village in the middle of the lake were inundated to their rooftops.
“Residents here fled their homes yesterday using speedboats,” said Leo Ohee of Yoka village, Jayapura city, who lives by the side of the lake.
“The number of victims keeps increasing because the affected area is very large,” said National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho in a statement.
Sutopo said a joint team from 23 institutions comprising 1,613 personnel had been deployed to Sentani to provide emergency help for the victims of the flash flooding.Artikel Asli